Local Assembly Vancouver

Blogroll / Local Assemblies

UCRF is delighted to announce the forthcoming student-led Local Assembly ‘Local Fibers : Local Futures’ in Vancouver, BC, bringing together students, faculty, researchers and industry to engage in critical conversations around improving policies for sustainable textile practices.

Event Name: Local Fibres / Local Futures

When: Nov 30, 2019, 1-4pm.

Where: IMS Studio, Emily Carr University, 520 E 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 0H2, Canada.

The event is free. But registration is strongly suggested due to capacity. Register here

Aligned with the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (UCRF), the goal of Local Fibres : Local Futures is to create a space where a diverse group of individuals can connect to and discover their part in creating resilient communities and better business futures. This event will include a series of activities that are designed to provoke and capture collaborative discussions around the pressing issues related to fashion and clothing production and sustainability.

This event is fuelled by a new course which brings together Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art + Design students to connect with and discover possibilities for a more sustainable local textile industry in BC. This class is a partnership between The Beedie School of Business and SIAT at SFU, as well as The Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship and Textile Adaptations Research Program (TARP) at Emily Carr University. This course is co-led by Emily SmithStephanie Ostler, and Helene Day Fraser.

Response to Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M

Blogroll / Uncategorized

On October 28th, 2019, H&M boss Karl-Johan Persson was interviewed by Bloomberg and made a series of statements which appear to justify the fast fashion business model on ethical grounds. In the interview, Persson warns of the risks of ‘terrible social consequences’ if fast fashion is not upheld. Unsurprisingly his statements have drawn widespread censure. Labour Behind The Label for instance lambasted his claims about the ‘social consequences’ for workers in low labour cost countries, highlighting instead poverty wages and poor working conditions within many factories producing fast fashion for brands including H&M. UCRF also finds Persson’s statements unconscionable.

Firstly, Persson’s statements are not unique. They are typical for proponents of a so-called ‘new environmentalism’ based on an ideology of green growth. In this view, rather than being the cause of resource depletion, pollution effects and worker abuses; industrial activity and economic growth are prescribed as the ‘solutions’ to these impacts. This type of have-it-all environmentalism, achieved through market forces and satisfying growing consumer yearnings, is wholly incompatible with the reality of biophysical planetary limits. Persson suggests that workers would suffer under ‘de-growth’ or ‘don’t buy’ conditions. The reality is that the business model Persson promotes, which is utterly dependent upon extracting, processing and wasting natural resources at increasingly greater volumes, would suffer. It is a physically untenable model that will eventually undermine itself, as exemplified by the recent demise of the brand Forever 21.

Secondly, Persson’s statements are cynical and perpetuate environmental injustice. As environmental degradation accelerates, the same people whose cheap labour and long working hours Persson profits from, will be the victims of climate change and associated problems long before the business leaders. Likewise the ecological habitats affected by environmental degradation are concentrated in countries which bear the heavy impact of industrial pollution. The biospheres and local communities in cheap labour countries are typically not safeguarded by either environmental or labour-laws Persson takes for granted when applied to his own employees, family and country. In fact, it would be illegal to produce the goods he does within his home biosphere and country – even though it is not illegal to import said goods. 

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UCRF recognised with an award

About the Union / Blogroll

The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (UCRF) has been recognised by the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in the ‘North Star’ category for its groundbreaking work. The Union is grateful for the opportunity to highlight the urgency of systemic change in the fashion sector. 

In less than a year, UCRF and its radical manifesto that promotes practices which put earth first and calls out the growth logic as a key underlying problem preventing the transformation of the fashion system, has attracted 441 signatories spread across 55 countries. UCRF regards this as a signal that people in positions of power do care and that they are ready to do the work of systemic change. 

Kate Fletcher and Mathilda Tham and placard. Image courtesy of EcoAge

Oslo Local Assembly Communiqué

Blogroll / Local Assemblies

On 11th September a group of around 40 people met in OsloMet University for a UCRF local assembly. Around 10 discussions took place around themes suggested by participants. A summary can be found below. In addition the Local Assembly put together a list of priorities for ‘here, now’. These were called the ‘Oslo Priorities‘:

  • Request that innovation funds fund post-growth projects.
  • Explore legal frameworks to incentivise staying small.
  • Recognise that responsibility for producers and users does not end when a garment is delivered to a recycling system.
  • Promote ecological literacy and basic practical skills (fibre literacy, use/wardrobe literacy)
  • In a regulated society like Norway, apply policy and legal frameworks for clothing and textiles to drive change.
  • International trade of new and used clothing and textiles requires regulations – use them.
  • Raise voices in political contexts.
UCRF Local Assembly Oslo. Image credit: Vilde Rydal Haugrønning

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Oslo Local Assembly + Seminar, 11th September 2019

Activities / Blogroll / Local Assemblies

Join us for a gathering of Union members and other interested parties at Oslomet on 11th September in Oslo. Hosted by SIFO (Consumption Research Norway) and Oslomet and facilitated by Kate Fletcher, the Assembly will discuss urgent questions and issues around fashion and sustainability linked to UCRF’s manifesto. It will be organised using Open Space methodology.

The Assembly will be preceded by a seminar on fashion, design and sustainable consumption called Practices of Change.

Practices of Change speakers:
– Kate Fletcher (Professor at Centre for Sustainable Fashion) – Fashion, Food & Change
– Ingun Grimstad Klepp (Research Professor at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO), Oslomet) – 80 år med forskning på klær og mat til nytte for den norske forbruker. Bruk av kunnskap i endringsarbeid
– Else Skjold (Associate Professor at the Design School Kolding) – Sustainability in the Danish fashion education

11th September 2019; 12:30 – 15:30
Pilestredet 46 (P46); room: Athene 2 (PA110)
Oslo, Norway.

The event is free. But registration is required before September 4th here